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The Pleistocene-Holocene Transition

Published on Nov 19, 2015

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The Pleistocene-Holocene Transition

Miles Schneider ANTH2030 Week10
Photo by Travis S.

The Transition

  • 11,200 - 8000 years ago
  • Marked differences in archaic/prearchaic lifestyles 
  • Plant species shift in range and abundance
  • High species turnover - dynamic landscape
  • Early Holoscene had high biodiversity 
Photo by VinothChandar


  • Due to lack of megafauna butchering sites, hunting was different
  • Growing number of faunal assemblages - seeds/fish/small game
  • Foragers flourished between 10,500 - 8,500 years ago
  • Low population density and high residential mobility
  • Little variability between sites, suggesting long ranges 
Photo by xeno_sapien

Change in environments

  • Drastic decrease in existing lakes - Bonneville
  • Lakes largest between 14,000 - 13,000 BP
  • Abrupt warming dries lakes - Salt Flats
  • Early Holocene was wet, by Middle drying takes place
  • Shift from wet to dry hampers biodiverstiy
Photo by Hugo90

Behavior Ecology

  • Diet breadth - diversity of food intake (DBM)
  • Path Choice - method of acquiring resource (PCM)
  • Risk - cost / benefit analysis (Z-score)
  • These factors help form an evaluation of resource strategies
Photo by bob august

Elston, Robert, and David Zeanah. "Thinking outside the box: a new perspective on diet breadth and sexual division of labor in the Prearchaic Great Basin". Print.

Photo by AbyssWriter